Nov 10, 2023

Prana in food - a short summary

 In my earlier post, I spoke about how having an open, scientific mind is essential before we pass random comments or mock traditional ideas and principles.

In this post, let me share my perspectives on the topic of Prana in food. 

"Prana" is a Sanskrit term, that refers to life force or life energy. In Yogic philosophy, this life force is considered to be present in every aspect of creation.

In the context of food, the idea of Prana has different interpretations in naturopathy/nature cure, Ayurveda and Yoga philosophy. These streams have overlapping principles, but they are quite different. On social media, we see that these principles from all these streams get mixed up, leading to confusion.

From a Naturopathy point of view, foods are classified into three - positive pranic, negative pranic, and neutral pranic foods.

This classification is based on the inherent Prana (life force) that the food contains (PROPERTY BASED).

Positive Pranic foods - raw vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, cooked whole grains and whole lentils

Negative Pranic foods - garlic, onion, asafoetida, chilli, brinjal, tea, coffee, alcohol, meat, packaged foods, fried foods, foods made with sugar/oil/processed grains

Neutral Pranic foods - potato, tomato

According to Yogic philosophy, foods are classified into three - Sattvic, Rajasic, and Tamasic foods.

This classification is based on the changes in Prana within our body due to the consumption of certain foods (OUTCOME BASED).

Sattvic foods - creates a state of balance, lightness, and clarity of mind - Fruits, nuts, steamed vegetables, cooked grains, beans, lentils, milk and milk products

Rajasic foods - creates restlessness, impatience, hyperactivity, and overstimulation of senses - Foods cooked with high amounts of spices and oil, meat, fish, garlic

Tamasic foods - creates lethargy, inaction, and inertia - Old, stale foods, highly processed foods

Prana can also be enhanced through our thoughts, words, and actions.

The reason why a simple homecooked meal tastes delicious and satisfying is because of the way it is cooked with love and care. Mass-cooked meals don't have that inherent taste, which leads to the addition of artificial flavors and taste enhancers.

These factors impact the quality of Prana in food:

  • The mindset in which the food is prepared
  • Hygiene during food preparation
  • Time difference between when food was prepared and when it is eaten
  • Mindset while eating
  • The group with whom you are eating and the conversations before or during eating
  • Whether food was offered to the Divine before eating

There is a marked difference in taste and flavor

  • between home-cooked food vs food mass-produced in a restaurant/cloud kitchen
  • between freshly cooked food vs stale food
  • between food that is cooked with love and care vs food made with a lot of resentment and anger

Prana may not be seen or measured through the limited capability of our 5 senses. But it can be experienced through abilities beyond sensory perception. As Wayne Dyer beautifully put it, 

"You'll see it when you believe it"

Please note, Ayurveda doesn't classify food based on Prana. Foods are recommended solely based on the individual constitution type and the season.

These are my interpretations based on personal experience and reading and researching books and articles related to Yoga, Ayurveda, and Naturopathy.

Experts in these areas, If there are any mistakes in my understanding, please let me know.

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